The Toughest Phrase for a Christian to Say

We Christians have a lot to say about everything although too often, our words turn out to say a lot about very little, burning the air about us with our speech (and vice versa). For all our holy verbosity, there is a phrase that rolls off our tongues with great difficulty, if at all. This phrase would end so many of those shallow arguments disguised as Bible studies
Continue reading “The Toughest Phrase for a Christian to Say”

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Lynched Children and Guffawing Adults

Why do we kill our children? In our incessant drive for perfection, we unwittingly lynch our progeny. 
I witnessed the lynching of a precocious innocent not too long ago. Chuckles filled the air when she looked at an electronic billboard and changed her verdict from “those are adverts” to “no, they’re not adverts”. What else could the adults sitting with her in the car do but chuckle at the blissful ignorance of childhood? It is for children to look at adverts and declare them not adverts but an adult cannot be expected to utter such nonsense. Flounder now, sweet child, for tomorrow we will not countenance fecundity of imagination daring to call a spade a spoon; tomorrow you’ll be an adult.

Why is imagination the preserve of children? When did adults decide to exclude imagination from reality? Somewhere along the line, we stop exploring possibilities and decide to fixate on single answers and stand at the door of adulthood, barring children from entering unless they strip themselves of all imagination. Life is full of hardship so we decided to find the answer to every question as if each problem has only one solution. The reason is simple: we are afraid of failure. There’s nothing wrong with fearing failure as long as we don’t equate mistakes and failure. Imagination or no imagination, we all make mistakes; failure is not learning from them.

As for, that sweet child who got lynched by the guffaws of adults too engrossed with perfection to learn, I asked what she thought the billboard’s flashing images were, and without hesitation, she declared them to be newspapers. The lynch mob continued laughing but I was stunned by the profundity of her conclusion. She was right! For some time I’d stared at electronic billboards and displays in my hometown (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) and wondered why their ads were so bland and this girl had blurted out the simple reason. The advertisers hadn’t moved from the print media paradigm to digital and so their digital adverts where little more than newspaper ads forced onto PowerPoint slides.

Needless to say, unbridled imagination quickly becomes cowardly escapism or fanciful ineptitude, however, the lynching of children by asphyxiating their imagination is undoubtedly myopic. Imaginative people are often dismissed as unrealistic but is there anything as unrealistic as believing that following the beaten path will eliminate mistakes? Every well worn path was once a jungle cleared by painstaking trial and error so why are we so dead set against those who seek to beat new paths?

We all make mistakes so instead of dodging children’s footsteps in some vain hope of preventing mistakes, shouldn’t we help them bridle their imagination by teaching them to evaluate their ideas in addition to learning from other people’s mistakes? Curiosity and creativity coupled with courageous evaluation drives all progress. Guarding the door to “club adulthood” is vital but we ought to admit only those who’ve learned to differentiate between creativity and fantasy. I dare say that according to that criteria, some people need to be demoted from adulthood!

I long ago decided to stop treating children as idiots and I’ve found that as much as they have a lot to learn, they have even more to teach. Unspoiled by the fear of being wrong, their observations are honest albeit somewhat superficial. From my own observation of them, it’s clear that they greatly benefit from an adult has the patience to walk them through the evaluation of their ideas and perceptions by way of dynamic interaction. Of course, not everybody sees it this way and so the lynch mobs will continue guffawing around lighted pyres.

photo credit: Day 104/366 – Cola Wars via photopin (license)

Satan is a Staunch Believer

Satan is a believer. He shares our most cherished beliefs. He believes in the existence of God, in fact, they are on first-name basis. He doesn’t have to believe Genesis’ Creation story because he was there, watching it all happen. He witnessed the prophets of old writing the books of the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He even has selfies that he posed for at Calvary. I’m told, one shouldn’t even mention the Second Coming in his hearing because he flies into fits of anger, screaming, “Eish! Time is running out!”

Satan could easily pass any examination on any tenet of doctrinal theology. He could accurately retell the events outlined in the Bible. There are details He can furnish that we don’t know: Joseph’s coat size, Moses’ favourite manna recipes, David’s dance moves and Bathsheba’s favourite brand of soap. Satan’s knowledge of the Bible is much more expansive than ours.

Don’t get me started on prayer! He has had face-to-face discussions with God. He shows more honesty with God than most believers do in their prayers. There is no question about his feelings and opinions on God. We, on the other hand, don’t tell God when we aren’t happy with Him because we only pray to get out of trouble and for our enemies to get in trouble. Just how dumb do we think God is anyway?

If Satan accurately knows doctrinal theology, religiously reads the Bible and is more open to God about his feelings than a lot of believers, why then is he an enemy? Satan has no trust in God and so doctrine (a fancy synonym for teaching), Bible study and prayer produce no real positive effects in his life (James 2:19). There’s absolutely no point in having the right beliefs (as important as that is) if they are held outside a relationship with God. How sweet it would be if we studied, taught and prayed within the context of relationship! God’s love would fill our hearts and overflow into those we encountered.

photo credit: pray via photopin (license)

Blue Ghosts and Green Goblins

Blue lights flash in the dark, my time isn’t mine anymore; my thoughts ruthlessly interrupted – I’m being haunted. Call the exorcist! I’m tired of the blue ghosts dodging my footsteps, their incessant cries pulling me from the real world to their own eerie illusion of flashing images and unfriendly friends stamping their approval on brief exhibitions of morbid voyeurism.
I’m weary and leery of the green goblin’s wailing. He whistles in my ear, disrupting my slumber. Day turns into night but he doesn’t knock off, he needs no holiday. He and his blue cousins lap at my eyes and ears, feasting on my attention. My attention span is getting shorter although I stare at them all day. I read all they show me but I remember so little. Their catchphrases echo in my thoughts: they’ve taken over my mind, I must reclaim it. Continue reading “Blue Ghosts and Green Goblins”

Of Really Stupid Prayers and Windy Lullabies

Don’t tell me about how He calmed the storm or how He walked on water. He is God, that was easy enough. Tell me about how He snored in a boat tossed by the foaming billows. For too long I’ve gazed at the winds and the waves hoping to find their ears so that I too may still them when they toss my boat to and fro. I’ve wasted too much time inspecting Jesus’ larynx, hoping to find which frequencies He uses to calm angry waves and howling wind. Too much energy have I expended studying his feet so that I too might dance on water.

I’ve prayed stupid prayers:

“God make me happy,”

“God take away my country’s troubles,”

“God give me a perfect wife.” Continue reading “Of Really Stupid Prayers and Windy Lullabies”

You’re a Man so Start Crying

When did it become wrong for men to cry? Did their cheeks suddenly become too fragile to bear the weight of cascading tears? Perhaps we ought to remove the offending tear glands, numb our nerves and discard our hopes. It would appear, each tear that escapes our eyes dissolves our muscles and eats away at our faith for who hasn’t heard a weeping man being encouraged to be strong and mourning Christian being quizzed about his faith’s whereabouts? Rubbish! Continue reading “You’re a Man so Start Crying”

It’s Sad Being God Sometimes

How sad it must be to be God at times. To have the world you created perfect marred by the very people you bequeathed it to must fill the heart with pain. Yet the same people inflict even more pain on God by blaming Him for the results of human folly.

When faced with pain, we scream and rail against Him as if He is beyond pain. Do we ever stop to think what it’s like for God to have intimate knowledge of all the pain in the world? Does it ever occur to us to offer words of comfort to God? I didn’t think so. We are too busy trying to pin the blame on somebody and since God is closest to us when the pain hits, it’s just too easy to blame Him. No wonder we never offer Him any words of comfort. We never say,

“Hey God, you spent a whole day viewing suffering humanity. You comforted people who were too busy complaining to take a moment to comfort you too, much less, thank you. That’s got to be rough. I’m sorry.” Continue reading “It’s Sad Being God Sometimes”

Will God make up His Mind?

Why does God seem to vacillate between justice and mercy? Why can’t He just make up His mind? It seems he sits on a pendulum and swings arbitrarily between the two “extremes”. Some say He was pure justice in Old Testament times and then changed to pure mercy in the New. Others paint a picture of a stern unyielding God with Jesus as the only one standing between us and His undiluted wrath. I won’t even mention the doting grandfather some have made God out to be. How on earth are we ever to reconcile justice and mercy? Can they be reconciled anyway? Continue reading “Will God make up His Mind?”